Thursday, July 28, 2011

Surat Man, 15 Januari 1981

Man (on tricycle) with yours truly (circa 1965). Pic taken by Apak under Tok Hussein's old house before it was rebuilt. Behind us is a kandang-like storage area where Tok Hussein used to store his motorcycle during the night

My brother, Azman, is THE scribe in the family.

From schooling days it was already obvious that he was very expressive, and had a way with words. And it showed through his many letters to me when I was away in England. Each letter would be filled with little stories and news and his views of what's happening around him.

Here is a sample.


                                                                                             AZMAN
                                                                                             15 JANUARY 1981
                                                                                             FRIDAY


Menemui Yop semoga berada di dalam keadaan sihat dan riang selalu.

Terlebih dahulu Man pohon maaf kepada Yop kerana tidak pernah menulis surat kepada Yop. Man telah bercadang menulis kepada Yop semenjak 2 minggu yang lalu tetapi Man memang tidak punya masa langsung...kerja-kerja sekolah terlalu banyak dan cikgu juga tak putus-putus memberi nota yang ditaipnya untuk dibaca di rumah. Hari ini Jumaat dan esok cuti, boleh lah luangkan sikit masa. Man cuti hingga Monday kerana Monday ialah hari cuti Maulud Nabi. Walau bagaimanapun homework tetap banyak.

Tahun ini Man telah dilantik menjadi bendahari kelas Man, dan bagi Man ini adalah satu lagi sebab yang membuat masa Man sentiasa penuh, kena kutip duit dan kira tak renti-renti, takut hilang. Yang payahnya duit syiling banyak sangat. Duit-duit itu semua dikumpul untuk membeli barang-barang keperluan kelas yang di luar bekalan pihak sekolah seperti alas meja, barang-barang hiasan kelas dan yang utamanya untuk membeli majalah-majalah untuk dijadikan bahan rujukan seperti Mastika, Aktual, Dewan Masyarakat dan banyak lagi.

Man akan mengambil SPM hujung tahun ini dan tentu sekali punya cita-cita untuk maju dan berjaya dengan keputusan yang membanggakan. Nasihat Yop dengan panjang lebar diperlukan...kalau boleh. Di sekolah sekarang Man sentiasa ada mood untuk belajar dan Man harap ini akan terus kekal. Man duduk depan meja guru di dalam kelas supaya fikiran sentiasa tertumpu kepada guru. Pada hari Khamis waktu persekolahan habis pukul 2.30, dan pada hari-hari lain pukul 1.50 kecuali Jumaat. Sampai di rumah tentulah makan dulu. Belah petang siapkan homework yang mudah dan sedikit, belah malam baru buat Maths atau Physics. Man sekarang ambil tuition Maths di bangunan SKOMK. Apak juga suruh Man ambil tuition BMalaysia. Man turut saja kata dia. Nyah sekarang nampaknya duk rumah saja. Belah petang dia tolong Mak jaga Azlina dan belah malam dia dengar rancangan dari FM Stereo.

Keputusan SRP tahun 1980 telahpun keluar dan ianya adalah lebih baik dari tahun-tahun dulu di mana 25 buah sekolah berjaya mendapat kelulusan 100% antaranya MCKayKay, STAR, Izzuddin Shah Ipoh, dan juga skolah lama Yop di Kangar.

Berita paling hangat di Malaysia ialah penyerahan diri Musa bin Ahmad, pengerusi Parti Komunis Malaya. Beliau telah dipujuk dan dibawa pulang dari Peking, China melalui sebuah operasi sulit di bawah Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie, Menteri Pertahanan Dalam Negeri.

Masa Man menulis surat ini, Apak, Emak dan Zizah sedang menonton tayangan gambar Melayu, cerita Harimau Berantai. Nyah sedang dalam bilek dengar radio dan Cun pula dah pun lelap. Dia tu makin nakal nampaknya tapi cerdik juga dan boleh hafal kali-kali 5 atau 6 setakat ini,

Sekian  dulu dari Man untuk kali ini dan sambutlah salam sejahtera Man buat Yop.

                                         
                                                                                          dari

                                                                                        Azman

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Thank you Liverpool FC

Full house
Bukit Jalil National Stadium filled to the brim
Outside the stadium, it's like a huge pasar malam
Match in full flow. This pic is during second half when 7 goals were scored!!
Charlie Adam being introduced to the roaring approval of fans

Three Kopites from Cheras
Two Kopites from Cheras
Game over. Syafiq and Anas showing their appreciation and saying their goodbyes to the Reds

It is not often that the mighty Liverpool FC juggernaut reach our shores.
So when they did, it was a rare opportunity that I just couldn't afford to
miss.

I'd been in Singapore for work since last Wednesday. I was supposed to fly
back home Saturday afternoon, which would mean that I couldn't be at Bukit
Jalil in time for the match.

But I was determined to be there with my two die-hard Liverpool sons,
Syafiq and Anas.

So a change in flight schedule was duly made, and I managed to reach home at
12.45pm. After solat and a quick lunch, by 2.45pm, we were well on our way
to the stadium, donning our Liverpool jerseys.

The atmosphere in the stadium was unbelievable. Everywhere you look you'd
see RED, literally.

Over 80,000 Kopites descended upon Bukit Jalil (that's the population of a medium-sized town - sorry, can't help the comparison, I am a TOWN PLANNER after all).

Thank you Liverpool FC for a hugely entertaining game. But many thanks also to
Harimau Malaya who didn't go down tamely and provided a good fight.

Nine goals scored over 94 minutes. Now that's value for money!

.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Floria Putrajaya 2011

English garden
Tried to find also baja for tuan pokok yang malas, but there was none
The rose garden - my favourite of them all

The annual flower show Floria Putrajaya is back with bang!

This years's theme is "Roses are Forever". Numerous flowers and thematic gardens were on display.

For gardeners and flower lovers, this is definitely an event not to be missed . The Floria Putrajaya 2011 runs until next Sunday 17 July.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Sungai Perak, our River of Life

Pristine and peaceful Sungai Perak

The boat belonging to JWW Birch anchored on Sg Perak near Belanja, Parit.

Yesterday, I was part of the crowd that gathered to see the PM launch the River of Life Project in KL. The project aims to revitalize the city's dirty rivers and transform the Klang and Gombak rivers into iconic waterfronts on par with waterways in cities like Amsterdam, London and Paris by 2020.

As a town planner, I think this program is laudable.

But isn't it funny how we allow our beautiful natural rivers to be clogged with rubbish and filled with foul effluents in the first place, only to spend billions to reclaim it?

The only plus point is that, according to the PM, this project is expected to contribute RM11 billion to the country's GDP until 2020.Which is good for the nation's economy and the creation of employment.

My late father hails from from Layang-Layang Kiri in Parit, Perak. He was born a stone's throw away from the banks of Sungai Perak. Even though I myself have not even once swum in the mighty Sungai Perak, Apak used to recount tales of how he would swim across the river and back with his friends just for the fun of it. He would tell us stories of how Atok would take his sampan to lead his buffaloes to the small islands which litter the centre of the river where the buffaloes are kept. And how he would spend hours by the river bank till the sun sets, fishing with his buddies.

It is stories like these from my father that makes me captivated with Sungai Perak and rivers in general.

Sungai Perak is, of course, the second longest river in the Peninsula running for about 400km from Hulu Perak down to Bagan Datoh before meeting the Straits of Malacca. Its history is very much intertwined with the history and development of the State of Perak.

The beginning of the current sultanate of Perak can be traced to the event when a descendent of the old Malacca royal family returned to the Peninsula from Sumatera when his entourage landed at Beting Beras Basah near Bagan Datoh in 1528. From there his flotilla sailed upstream along Sungai Perak to set up goverment. He was throned as the Sultan of Muzzafar Shah I, and chose a location on the bank of the river called Tanah Abang in Mukim Bota as his seat of government.

Since then, all sultans of Perak have their seats of government located by the Sungai Perak. There have been 15 of them to date including places like Kota Lama Kanan, Bota and Pulau Cempaka Sari. The current sultan has his seat at Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar.

We are lucky because Sungai Perak is still clean and pristine. Perhaps it's got to do with it being such a big river. But if we aren't careful, with uncontrolled logging and large scale land clearance for development, even a river of this size might succumb to over development and deteriorate in its health.

Although I have not swum in Sungai Perak like Apak, I did have the opportunity to take the Perak River Safari boat ride from Kuala Kangsar to Pulau Cempaka Sari in Parit. I was treated to the sight of quaint riverside villages, buffaloes, monkeys and various flora and fauna of the tropical rain forest that reach down to the water's edge. Fascinating.

As I soaked in the experience, I imagined tracing the journey of the royal flotilla. And I imagined how Apak had swum and played in this beautiful river. And I felt that, whatever happens, Sungai Perak has got to be maintained in its present beauty and splendour.

It is the River of Life for Perak.

.